Roswell, NM, July 31, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Long before graphic novels and Hollywood blockbusters, Cowboys and Aliens really did encounter each other, according to newspaper accounts and other historical documents of the 1800s. These unusual stories about UFO sightings in the Old West are revealed in a new book by Texas UFO researcher Noe Torres and New Mexico historian John LeMay. Titled "The Real Cowboys and Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West," the book examines fourteen bizarre incidents, including the reported recovery in 1897 of a spaceship and its alien pilot in the Texas frontier town of Aurora.
“Cowboys meeting aliens seems to be a theme strictly for comic books and blockbuster movies,” LeMay said. “But in reality, there exist many newspaper and magazine accounts from the 1800s telling of strange sightings and encounters from America’s cowboy era.” A native of Roswell, New Mexico, LeMay has authored several books about the history of New Mexico and recently released a book called "Roswell USA: Towns that Celebrate UFOs, Lake Monsters, Bigfoot, and other Weirdness," published by RoswellBooks.com. LeMay serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSNM).
Torres, a state section director for the Mutual UFO network (MUFON), said, “What is especially interesting about these historic UFO sightings is that they took place before airplanes were invented and before flight of any kind was common. Although hot air balloons had been around since the 1700s, it was closer to 1900 before balloon airships became widely known.” Torres has written three books about historic UFO cases, "Mexico’s Roswell: The Chihuahua UFO Crash" (2007), "The Other Roswell: UFO Crash on the Texas-Mexico Border" (2008), and "Ultimate Guide to the Roswell UFO Crash" (2010).
"It seems likely that UFOs were quite common in the 1800s,” Torres said, “We have found hundreds of newspaper and magazine accounts about people seeing strange objects and lights in the sky. We have also found articles that mention face-to-face encounters with creatures that seemed human but were clearly not.”
According to Torres and LeMay, because airplanes and spaceships were unknown concepts in the 1800s, people who saw strange things in the sky usually described them by comparing them to known objects like “cigars” and “balloons.” The term “flying saucer” was not widely used until the 1940s, although "The Real Cowboys & Aliens" includes an account of an 1878 UFO sighting by a Texas farmer who described what he saw as a “large saucer.”
Since this was long before the era of jet planes and spacecraft, the cowboys and farmers of the 1800s often struggled to put into words what they had witnessed, Torres and LeMay said. Unless a UFO slowed down enough to where they could observe it carefully, most of the Old West residents probably didn’t take much notice. Vapor trails in the daytime and streaks of light at night likely did not make much of an impression on these hardened pioneers. These sights were just part of the “signs and wonders” that often appeared in the heavens.
"The Real Cowboys & Aliens" opens with an eyewitness amazing account of an 1864 UFO crash in the Rocky Mountains, as told to a Cincinnati newspaper by Montana fur trapper James Lumley. The incident is one of the earliest reported sightings of a seemingly artificial object crashing down to Earth. According to Torres and LeMay, after examining the crash site, Lumley was convinced the object was highly unusual. “It was soon clear that the object was not a fallen meteor. Lumley claimed that it was ‘divided into compartments’ and parts of it had been ‘carved’ with hieroglyphics, similar to the writings of ancient Egypt.”
"The Real Cowboys & Aliens" also contains an updated account of the famous 1897 Aurora, Texas UFO incident, where a strange flying object slammed into an Old West windmill and fell to the ground in pieces. The residents of the small town recovered the body of the pilot, who was described as “not of this Earth” and gave it a “proper Christian burial” in the town cemetery. Many people believe that the alien’s remains still exist today amidst the shade trees of the Aurora cemetery.
As a UFO researcher, Torres has appeared on the History Channel’s UFO Hunters series, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, the Jeff Rense Program, the Captain Jack show on Badlands Radio, and many other programs. He has also been a guest lecturer at the annual Roswell UFO Festival and at other UFO conferences and events. LeMay has also appeared on radio and at conferences, speaking about his research and his books.
"The Real Cowboys & Aliens" is beautifully illustrated by Neil Riebe, Jared Olive, and Shane Olive. The book is available in paperback for $12.95 and for the Amazon Kindle ($9.95) via the authors’ web site, RoswellBooks.com.